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Breathing Control

4 videos
Luckily, we can breathe without thinking which means that we have autonomic control of breathing. If we couldn’t, we would risk dying if we went to sleep (look up Ondine’s curse)! There are times when the body wants more oxygen (like during heavy exercise), and when the body wants less (like when we’re resting). How does our body automatically seem to know when to inhale more, and when to inhale less? Also, if we do have autonomic control of breathing, how is it possible to also have conscious control of our breathing? These questions get to the fundamentals of breathing control.

Peripheral chemoreceptors

VIDEO 11:06 minutes
Find out how the your body uses special cells that are peripheral to the brain (outside the brain) to sense levels of O2, CO2, and pH. Rishi is a pediatric infectious disease physician and works at Khan Academy. These videos do not ...

Central chemoreceptors

VIDEO 7:44 minutes
Find out how the your body uses special cells that are central to the brain (inside the brain) to sense levels of CO2 and pH. Rishi is a pediatric infectious disease physician and works at Khan Academy. These videos do not provide ...

The respiratory center

VIDEO 9:23 minutes
Find out how the respiratory center collects information from all over the body and then helps regulate your breathing. Rishi is a pediatric infectious disease physician and works at Khan Academy. These videos do not provide medical ...

Sneeze, cough, and hiccup

VIDEO 8:40 minutes
Learn how our brain receives information from mechanoreceptors and then responds by controlling muscles in a well-coordinated system, and how all of this can lead to a sneeze, a cough, or even a hiccup! Rishi is a pediatric infectious ...